Military operations in eastern Ukraine have focused the world's attention. Many countries are concerned with what is happening. People transfer money, clothes, uniforms and more. Charitable organization Israeli Friends of Ukraine has also provided significant assistance.
In his interview with 112 International, Vyacheslav Feldman, representative of immigrants from Ukraine, one of the founders of the NGO Israeli Friends of Ukraine, told how the conflict in Donbas linked the two countries.
- Tell us about the activities of Israeli Friends of Ukraine. What are the main goals and areas of work?
Israeli Friends of Ukraine is an initiative group of Israelis who have an active social position. The group was founded in April 2014. All its members are not indifferent to the lives and problems of the citizens of Israel and Ukraine. We have taken a proactive stance before the events on the Maidan: the action was carried out and rallies to protest the actions of the authorities. When the military conflict began in Donbas, we have expanded the scope of action.
One of the areas of our work is assistance to wounded soldiers of ATO. We search for clinics, support in Israel, links with the volunteers in Ukraine. In March 2014, we have become even more actively to help the Ukrainians, when they brought 11 injured from the Maidan. Overall, during the military operations in the East, we took 25 people. They receive the full medical care.
- Have all these people returned to Ukraine, or have someone stayed in Israel?
Today, they are all in Ukraine. One even became a deputy of Lutsk city council. To another one of our "wards", I and my family went to a wedding in October. The boys are back to normal life. I am pleased that our organization has been able to help them in this.
- On charity. Many countries help Ukrainian IDPs. Are there concerned people among the residents of Israel?
In Israel, charity events and collecting humanitarian aid is a natural phenomenon. Volunteering in the country is very developed; there are organizations of different directions. Israeli Friends of Ukraine with the support of one of the Ukrainian airlines have initiated action "Relay of goodness." Residents bring different things ranging from clothing, shoes and ending with personal hygiene stuff. All that we have sent to help the displaced Ukrainians. It is worth noting that the event is held regularly.
We have also assisted the Ukrainian military - sent about 300 Mitznefets, "caps of invisibility", that make a soldier less noticeable for a sniper. These protective measures were sewn by our volunteers. These caps are used in the Israel Defence Forces.
In addition, about 15 thousands bands have been transferred from Israeli and uniforms bought in the Czech Republic togther with Maidan of Prague group.
- Israel actually lives in war. How people have adapted to this situation?
Israel lives in a state of war and subjected to terrorist attacks since its founding in 1948. Now the country's new round of terror war, terrorist attacks occur every day. Very often they take place in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. But the army and the police in general quite successfully cope with the situation. It is worth noting that the country’s military industry is functioning perfectly. You probably heard about the missile defense system "Iron Dome". I have personally seen how it works: at once, two missiles were shot down.
In Israel, all children and adults know how to behave in case of emergency. In addition, all houses built after 1991 have a special room-fortified refuge in the event of firing. Also shelters are equipped with many older houses built.
It is important to note that in Israel, we have the very strong army. The country is sparing no expense on defense.
- Israel's approach to the protection of citizens is a good example. With what Ukraine should start in order to change the situation in the country?
Firstly, I want to say that I think the Ukrainians began to change. Now people are willing to give and help. The country began to develop volunteering, people have become more conscious. You have to understand that it all starts with yourself, with your family.
Secondly, you need to start with the social sphere. Government of Ukraine, in particular, needs to be guided by the interests of the people. In Israel, there is a common saying: "If the Arabs laid down their weapons, there would be no war. And if we lay down our arms – there would be no us. "
Interviewed by Lyudmila Koval